Scientific Vision

The immune system is nature’s most powerful weapon against disease. Whether introduced to the host from the environment, arising endogenously, or stemming from a dysfunction of the immune system itself, diseases are impacted by immune functions and the immune response can be targeted for therapy. We are combining discovery research addressing immune recognition, cellular interactions, and immune signaling pathways, with the applications of these findings for the development of novel therapeutic applications for many human diseases.

About the Initiative

The Immunotherapeutics and Vaccine Research Initiative (IVRI) is a center for basic and early applied research in immunology, microbial pathogenesis, and vaccinology with the potential to profoundly impact the treatment of human disease. The initiative is founded on the principle that mechanistic research investigating the role of the immune system in infectious disease yields new approaches for treating cancer, and conversely, that studies of cancer immunology yield approaches for vaccines and therapies targeting infectious disease.

The University of California, Berkeley has an impressive record in this endeavor including advances that have led to cancer immunotherapeutics and novel vaccines. The IVRI will expand on and accelerate these advances by concentrating and coordinating the efforts of UC Berkeley researchers, their collaborators, and sponsors towards ground-breaking discoveries, and the development of new applications in disease prophylaxis and treatment. The initiative will facilitate communication and collaboration among researchers, streamline access to scientific and financial resources, and promote not only the vision, ideas, accomplishments of its scientists, but also the application and translation of these ideas and findings for the development of new therapies for human diseases. By targeting synergies in the expertise and capabilities of its scientists, and unifying their ingenuity with the objectives of its sponsors, the IVRI seeks to maximize the potential of its UCB researchers and accelerate the pace of discovery and translation.

The Idea of Checkpoint Blockade and the Cancer Immunotherapy Revolution
Targeting the Heart of the Human Immune System with Listeria-based Vaccines
Activation of the Innate Immune System to Overcome Cancers and Infectious Diseases

The IVRI researchers include UC Berkeley faculty and their collaborators interested in immunology, microbial pathogenesis, and their applications towards new diagnostic, vaccine, and therapeutic immune-based technologies in the fields of infectious disease and cancer. Many IVRI faculty are housed in the Immunology and Pathogenesis Division of the Molecular and Cell Biology Department, as well as the Infectious Disease and Vaccinology Division of the School of Public Health, but additional researchers are in other divisions of Molecular and Cell Biology, and the School of Public Health, the College of Chemistry, the College of Engineering, the School of Optometry, and elsewhere.

Julia Schaletzky
Executive Director, IVRI and Center for Emerging and Neglected Disease
David Raulet
Faculty Director, IVRI, Professor of Immunology and Pathogenesis
Laurent Coscoy
Associate Director, Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases, Associate Professor of Immunology and Pathogenesis
Daniel Portnoy
Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology
Russell Vance
Director, Cancer Research Laboratory, Professor of Immunology and Pathogenesis
Judith Yee
Financial Analyst
Working with IVRI


The IVRI is designed to drive basic research towards applications in cancer, infectious diseases, and immune disorders. The IVRI is prepared to connect leading biopharmaceutical firms to the most innovative and renowned research talent in immunology, microbial pathogenesis, and vaccinology, as well as collaborators in cancer biology, microbiology, chemistry, and bioengineering. The IVRI seeks to found and steward successful partnerships that seek to translate laboratory discoveries into potentially lifesaving treatments and vaccines addressing various contemporary global health challenges. Through the IVRI, sponsors are provided:

  • Technical-area experts to guide partners through the university collaborative research process
  • Professional research and licensing contract development through UC Berkeley’s Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Research Alliances
  • A managed alliance structure to ensure clear communications, and timely deliverables
  • Access to research group meetings and real-time experimental results

Contact IVRI to find out how your company can partner with UC Berkeley’s leading researchers.

Aduro Biotech is the founding partner for the IVRI. Aduro, a leading immunotherapy company, seeks to combine UC Berkeley’s extensive research capabilities with its own expertise in discovery and development to identify and advance new treatment options and preventative modalities for cancers, infectious diseases, and autoimmune diseases.

Giving to IVRI

Your Support

Your support has an impact. The goal of advancing immunotherapy and vaccine science to fight disease cannot be realized without financial support. The IVRI provides a focal point for efficiently leveraging resources and ensuring that investments are directed towards the most promising science. Your support can be directed to any of three key areas. People. At the core of every major medical, scientific, and technological breakthrough is a community of dedicated people. For innovation and long term sustainability, this work necessitates the cooperation of senior faculty, seasoned biotech researchers, postdoctoral scholars, and students. Your support of IVRI researchers, including fellowships and professorships, will allow us to attract the best minds in the field and ensure the successful translation of basic scientific research to new therapeutics used the world over. Projects. Groundbreaking discoveries often emerge from curiosity-driven basic research conducted without a clear application in mind. Development of novel immunotherapy and vaccine projects towards neglected and orphan diseases that strike primarily the world’s poor in developing countries can struggle to attract partners. Traditional support for fundamental research, such as from the National Institutes of Health, is on the decline, as is support for applying such research to neglected diseases. Furthermore, such endeavors rarely receive industry funding. Your support for basic or applied research projects can lead to important advances in science as well as help address high unmet health needs. Outreach. The potential for immunotherapy to change the face of treatment for cancer, infections, and other diseases is substantial. New science is also leading to advances in vaccines against scourges such as malaria, TB, and HIV. Such profound changes can disrupt societies unprepared to absorb them. Your support for outreach efforts will drive the engagement of media, policymakers, and the public in the nature and implications of the immunotherapy revolution, and promote new initiatives to assess the importance of this science for society.

For questions or guidance about making a gift to the IVRI, please contact: Kirsten Swan, Senior Director, Development


Immunotherapeutics and Vaccine
Research Initiative

344A Li Ka Shing Center
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-3370